Photographs from the 23 March 2016 JSC seminar: Japanese Futures: Globalization and the Notion of a Heisei Restoration

Professor Emeritus Ross Mouer speaks on Globalisation in Heisei Era Japan
Jim and Ross
Jim Breen and Ross Mouer

It was great to bring together old and new faces at the Japanese Studies Centre in March. Professor Mouer’s presentation drew a large crowd!  

Abstract: Although discussions about the nature of globalization have been occurring in Japan for two decades, it was only around 2010 that the media began to report Japan’s tardiness in addressing related issues as a kind of national crisis. Fearful that Japanese industry was losing its technological advantage and becoming somewhat isolated from the global discourse in science and technology, many of Japan’s leaders, especially those in the bureaucracy, government and business began to see a need for “global human capital” and higher levels of English proficiency as means of gaining a greater presence in international networks. To the extent that globalization is seen as an inevitable force that might “swallow up” Japan, the call for structural reform is more strident. One outcome is the Abe government’s push for altering significantly the “1955 system” and it is in that context that Japanese talk about restoration. This talk will consider the impact of the Abe government on Japan’s engagement with the rest of the world and consider the role of English in facilitating that engagement.

The Speaker: Dr. Mouer was Professor of Japanese Studies at Monash University from 1994 to 2010. In 1989-1995 and 2004-2011 he was Director of the Japanese Studies Centre. Following an appointment as a Visiting Researcher at the Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo in 2010 and 2011, he served as a Professor of industrial sociology and social change in the Graduate School of Business at Meiji University until 2015. He has written widely about the organization of work in Japan, the nature of nihonjinron/nihonshakairon (theories of Japanese society and culture), images of Japan, Japan’s globalization and Japan literacy. His best known works are the co-authored Images of Japanese Society: A Study in the Construction of Social Reality (1986) and The Sociology of Work in Japan: A Meso-Level Approach to Labor Process (2005), both available in Japanese and Chinese translations. He is currently researching popular responses to renewed pressure for the further globalization of Japan and the role of cross-cultural communication in the operation of lean production systems in Japanese subsidiaries overseas and the challenge of hiring non-Japanese as regular employees (seiki shain) in Japan’s corporate sector. He is the editor of Globalizing Japan: Striving to Engage the World (June, 2016: Trans Pacific Press).